Live a life in Christ. MARK 1:12–15
By Pearl Alfred
LENT for us Christians is a period of fasting, repentance, and reconciliation.
One of the ‘seasons’ of the Church, it lasts 40 days. We journey with Christ to Jerusalem; join in His suffering and death. It reminds us that the joy of Easter cannot be attained without the suffering of Good Friday.
Consequently, experiencing Lent teaches us we cannot enter “Paradise” without experiencing Gethsemane.
A sinless Jesus was tempted by the evil one. Imagine to what we sinners are exposed! There is evil in the world and there will always be temptation. We must choose to do right.
Evil must not be glorified. Anything God does, Satan will oppose. He dresses his temptations, make them attractive to woo everyone who comes in his path. Our wilderness is when we are at our weakest point.
Loss of loved ones, financial burdens, illness, anger, resentment, broken relationships, constitute much to make us feel hopeless and helpless. COVID-19 fatigue is prevalent these days. The evil one is very deceptive and busy planning to take all joy from our lives.
We must first turn to Jesus who is our burden bearer. Jeremiah 33:3 says, “Call to Me and I will answer.”
Power and the love of money are the root of much evil. Consequently, corruption and greed leave open doors for evil to thrive. The challenger knows how to “steal, kill and destroy” even the most upright man or woman.
Vigilance is necessary especially at this time of fake news, fake money, fake promises, fake adornments, just to name a few. ‘All that glitters is not gold’. With masks on everyone’s face, it is difficult to recognise even those we thought we knew so well.
Many still refuse to accept and worship Jesus. They gloat and grab ‘The Almighty Dollar’. Psalm 68:6 declares, “The rebellious dwell in a parched land.”
Christians should never yield to this way of life. While human nature allows evil to thrive, it will have no power over us if we live under the power of the Holy Spirit.
We must live a life in Christ. It is never too late to turn to Jesus for help. He conquered sin and won freedom for all by His death on the cross.
If we take the word in Scripture seriously, we can use it to ward off the enemy. Call on the name of Jesus, know the word of scripture – it “is a lamp for my feet and a light on my path” (Ps 119:105), declare the Word of the Lord to the evil one. In Psalms 91:3–4, God assures us He will “rescue us from the snares of the fowler set on destruction, He covers us with His pinions.”
He has also given His angels orders to “guard and protect you wherever you go” (Ps 91:11). Did not Jesus have angels ministering to Him when He was tempted? They will minister to us too.
Daily life without Mary, Our Mother, leaves a loophole. She is our greatest intercessor alongside Jesus. Pray the rosary. I was praying the rosary one year when a vehicular accident occurred, and I was pinned unconscious at the back seat of the car and ended up with two broken hips. I was saved from death to “walk in the Presence of the Lord, in the land of the living” (Ps 56:13).
The doctor told relatives I’ll be dead in six months. Five years later, God is using me according to His will.“The joy of the Lord is my strength” (Neh 8:10), is my mantra; not luck!
Be ready with the help of the Holy Spirit to resist temptation and to be delivered victoriously. Lent is a great opportunity to dig deeper into Scripture, increase prayer time, repent, give alms and fast. Grasp the opportunity this Lent, to build a relationship with Jesus and be the best version of yourself.
The gospel reflections for February are by Pearl Clarke Alfred, a parishioner of St Francis of Assisi RC Church, Sangre Grande. She is also a member of The Community of Franciscan House of Prayer, Sangre Grande, and a retired school principal.